I’ve been on an evangelistic roll in this space for the past month or so, extolling the virtues of mentoring new hunters. Hopefully my one-note chorus hasn’t turned you away from the subject, because I have one more post on the topic before I return to our regularly scheduled programming of bad dogs, good kids, and the hard-won rewards of late-season roosters and ice fishing.
It’s pushing New Year’s Eve as I write this, and I’m mulling my intentions for 2019. Like many of you, our family makes an ordeal of resolutions, but maybe unlike yours, my family also requires accountability.
We have a tradition—unsure where or when it started—in which during New Year’s brunch we write down resolutions from each member of the family (it’s the perfect reprised role for old business cards). The captured oaths are then put in an antique casserole dish, which we keep all year in the cupboard. Before we begin another round of resolutions, we open the dish and publicly revisit the ones from the previous year. Each member of the family has to declare whether they achieved the resolution or not.
Some wins: Ellis resolved to make all-state in track. He did. Some misses: Iris resolved to cook more. She didn’t. My spouse and I had a mutual resolution to invite people over more frequently for dinner. We didn’t.
What I like about our tradition is that it keeps us honest, or at least accountable, for our virtuous dreams. It’s easy to make declarations. It’s far harder to achieve them.
I mention this because I’m guessing if you’re reading this you are already bent toward wanting to mentor new hunters. It’s the basis of Powderhook’s existence, and success, and it’s an entirely wholesome, desirable, and laudable goal. Hopefully it’s one of your 2019 resolutions. But it’s easy to say. It’s far harder to achieve.
So break it down – using the 5 W’s of journalism. Why are you interested in passing on your experience? Who will you take? Where will you go? What will you hunt? When will you go? And maybe even more critically, how will you reach out to them?
Think about those necessary ingredients of mentoring, and then just go do it. It’s a noble resolution, and even if you don’t get all the work done this year, you’ll have laid the foundations for a wonderful tradition that can reach its fruition in the coming years.
Meanwhile, here’s one of my resolutions for 2019: Have fun. No matter what you’re doing, do it with joy. Happiness is infectious, and as long as you’re having fun, people will want to be involved with whatever you’re doing.